I’ve been on a writing binge – more than 200,000 words in a really short period of time, like 3 1/2 months, all while dealing with release promo, copyedits on other books and a computer implosion. The tight deadlines – and I have no one to blame for them but me and am truly grateful to have deadlines, so I am not complaining – meant I didn’t have any down time. In one instance, I turned in a book in the morning and started the next book that afternoon, just two hours later and all I did between was shower and eat. And don’t even get me started on the lack of sleep and failure to do anything healthy for weeks.
So, I’ve come up with a new comment for those times when people ask me for writing advice: give yourself a bit of time, however much you need, to relax between books. I’m actually someone who doesn’t need that much time. I need to write close to every day, even if it’s just playing with a proposal or potential future ideas, and generally write six days per week because it’s too easy for me to waste time doing other things. And if I go days without writing it’s tough for me to concentrate and get started again.
But I usually take some time. A day or two and that works for me. Forty-eight hours of mindless television and movie watching is what I do. Other people might need weeks or even longer. It’s not a competition, so do whatever the right answer is for you. My point is I knew what I needed to do and I failed to do it. I needed those 48 mindless hours and I didn’t let myself have them. That was a mistake. I made the last book really tough because I was desperate not to write for even a few hours and by the end I really couldn’t afford to, so I didn’t.
Bottom line: figure out what you need to do to refill that creative well and make sure you do it.